BMO supports Black entrepreneurship with new fund

BMO shows commitment to an inclusive society with no obstacles to entry through expanded assistance

BMO supports Black entrepreneurship with new fund

This Black History Month, BMO Financial Group has committed $100 million to launch a new program to support Black business owners.

To build a more inclusive business environment in Canada, the Business Within Reach: BMO for Black Entrepreneurs lending program provides more options for starting, scaling up, and growing their businesses, including working capital, educational resources, and professional relationships.

According to Head of Canadian Business Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal, Mike Bonner, "Every business owner deserves access to the financial support they need for their business to make real financial progress, now and in the future. Business Within Reach: BMO for Black Entrepreneurs increases access to capital and networks that break down barriers to inclusion. We are proud to be a catalyst for an inclusive recovery from a pandemic that has hit minority-owned businesses particularly hard."

Black entrepreneurs and company owners can get up to $250,000 in loans under the program. The loans can be put towards investing in equipment and leasehold improvements; operating capital, including inventory, payroll, and lease payments; and short-term receivable financing, among other uses.

The program is consistent with BMO's Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and in life, a commitment it launched in 2019 that included a pledge to double the bank's support for female entrepreneurs and small businesses.

"Black entrepreneurs face inequitable access to capital, which inhibits their ability to build and scale businesses," said Stanley Julien, Head of Special Accounts Management Unit - Canada, BMO Financial Group, "We believe this program's funding and resources will enable Black business owners to expand operations and enhance the opportunity to participate in Canada's economic growth."

BMO has teamed up with the Black Opportunity Fund (BOF), a community-based organization dedicated to eradicating financial obstacles for Black-owned businesses, to support the new program for Black entrepreneurs.

Black company owners will benefit from the partnership's comprehensive educational programs in areas such as business planning, financial management, sales, marketing, and budgeting.

“We applaud BMO's intentional steps to help dismantle the systemic barriers facing Black entrepreneurs," said Craig Wellington, Executive Director at the Black Opportunity Fund. "BOF is pleased to partner with BMO to provide capacity building supports for Black business owners to increase their opportunity for sustained success.”